Amanda Balionis has been covering golf for several years. This year, she will be covering the Masters Tournament for CBS Sports.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native currently lives in San Diego, California, with her dog, Chorizo. She isn’t married and doesn’t have any children (of the human variety).
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Is a Golf Reporter for CBS Sports & Does Work for Callaway Golf
Balionis became part of CBS Sports as a golf reporter in 2017. Before joining the network, she worked as a reporter for PGA Tour Digital and was a part of various shows including Trending on Tour, Buy a Mulligan, and PGA Tour Live.
When asked how she was liking working with Callaway, Balionis had nothing but wonderful things to say.
“It’s been fun. One of the big things for me has been coming to a company where trying new things is important. And in the game of golf, it’s really difficult to find places that are eager to try new things without the fear of failing. And Callaway doesn’t have that fear. As Harry says, the only way you fail is if you don’t try. And that’s always kind of been my mentality in life. So to find a company that really aligns with that way of thinking is so exciting to me. And the whole team is like that. Everyone works together to come up with the newest ideas,” she explained.
Balionis is still a member of the team over at Callaway and she is also a contributor for Turner Sports digital.
Check out Balionis’ episode of Buy a Mulligan with Rickie Fowler below.
2. She Graduated from Hofstra University With a Degree in Broadcast Journalism & Got Her Start Covering High School Sports
As a huge sports fan for most of her life, Balionis knew what she wanted to do after she graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in broadcast journalism.
She started out in the industry working for Verizon Fios Channel 1, covering high school sports in New York. In 2009, she started working as a reporter at MSG Network, covering high school sports.
“I majored in broadcast journalism at Hofstra University and when I graduated, I started out on the sidelines in the New York area. And then in 2011, I interviewed for a digital position with PGATour.com. I thought it was such a great opportunity to cover professional sports. The PGA Tour really trained me from day one to learn the game of golf – to live it and breathe it,” Balionis told Callaway Golf in an interview.
3. Her Parents Were in a Terrible Car Accident in 2016
Back in 2016, Balionis got a phone call that no one ever wants to get. Her parents, Anthony and Dana, had been in a terrible car accident. The two were hit head on and were rushed to the hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit.
Although Balionis didn’t post to social media at the time, she posted an update one year later. You can read it below.
“Exactly 1 year ago today I received the scariest phone call of my life. My parents had been hit head on by a confused driver and they were in the ICU. Nothing puts life in perspective faster than the possibility of losing the two people you love the most. I have learned pretty much every important life lesson from my Mom & Dad and this year has been no exception. I learned what true love looks like when things are bad (my dad making inappropriate flirty comments to my mom as they passed each other in ER, my parents demanding to be put in the same hospital room so they could be with each other and take care of each other). I’ve learned what strength is, how important it is to enjoy life in every way and to appreciate the people that make life so wonderful,” she posted on Instagram on March 30, 3017.
Balionis is incredibly close to her parents, both of whom inspired her to take up golf as a hobby when she was younger.
“My whole family are golf fanatics. My grandparents met on the golf course. My parents play virtually every day. So I grew up around the game. I took lessons at a golf course where I grew up in Lancaster, Pa., when I was little, probably when I was 8 or 9 years old. I played junior golf for a few years; my parents loved playing with me, but the minute I had to carry my own bag and walk nine holes by myself, I was like, ‘Eh, you know what, I’m gonna go join the swim team,’” Balionis told Golf Digest in June 2017.
4. She Loves Golf, But Would Love to Do Football Reporting, Too
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Balionis’ love of sports came with the territory. Her personal favorite team? The Pittsburgh Steelers. While she loves golf, she has admitted that she’d love to do some football-related work.
“Really, the goal is to stay with CBS Sports and hopefully develop my role to the point where they feel like I add substantial value to the team where I could join them on a full-time basis. That’s the most immediate goal. For long-term, the dream gig would be full-time golf and football, no question. CBS let me have a sideline game during Week 5 for the Raiders versus the Chargers. So maybe I’ll get another opportunity like that in the near future,” she told Golf Digest.
Despite being golf’s main media gal, Balionis has gotten to do a bit of football reporting here and there. In fact, one of her best memories happened back in 2016 when she got to meet Ben Roethlisberger.
“Last year at Oakmont… I’m from Pittsburgh, so being there with my family was amazing. But Callaway allowed me to run with this idea of doing trick shots at Heinz Field with Jim Furyk. And Jim said, ‘Alright, I’ll do it. But you have to make it cool.’ So I asked myself how I could make it cool. I reached out to Burt Lauten, who is the Communications Director for the Steelers, actually through Twitter. And he said, ‘Sure, how about I get Ben Roethlisberger?’ So we called Jim, and he said yeah let’s do it. So I spent my 30th birthday during the U.S. Open at Heinz Field in my hometown watching Jim Furyk and Ben Roethlisberger hit chip shots at the home of the Steelers. It literally couldn’t have gotten any better for me,” Balionis told Golf Digest.
She uploaded the following photo with Furyk and Roethlisberger to Instagram.
5. She Is a Proud Dog-Mom & Is Involved in the Charity ‘K9s For Warriors’
Balionis is the proud mother of her four-legged love, a French Bulldog named Chorizo. She has been a dog-lover for most of her life, and has even done some charity work with K9s for Warriors, an organization that helps post-9/11 veterans.
“K9s For Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs to military veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disability, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post-9/11. Our program is unique, and no other organization operates quite like K9s For Warriors. Every warrior that walks through the door is family. We provide them with a service canine, equipment, training, certification, seminars, legal instruction, vet care, housing, home cooked meals, unconditional love and listening, and life-time of wrap-around services (including available life-long healthcare and food for their dogs).”
In 2017, Balionis was promoting shirts that read “Puppies and Golf.” Proceeds from shirt sales went to the charity.
Source: Heavy Sports