CBS golf reporter Amanda Balionis, who got the job in 2017, talks with The Post’s Justin Terranova about the unforgettable Masters, the upcoming PGA Championship and almost giving up on broadcasting.
Q: What was it like at the Masters?
A: Awesome. It’s hard to imagine beforehand being there to witness and cover one of the most historic sports moments in our game and sports overall. I’ll remember that Saturday interview with Tiger Woods forever; walking away thinking this guy is going to do this tomorrow. His whole demeanor, how relaxed he was and yet laser-focused. You just knew it felt different. I am not great at living in the moment, but that week I was in the moment and understood how special it was.
Q: How do you approach an interview with Tiger?
A: It’s my approach for interviewing anybody. I am a firm believer in being as authentic and conversational as can be. Sometimes that’s easier said than done when questions come up that you know they are not going to like. But there is a way to ask questions without coming off like a jerk about it. It’s OK to say to Tiger Woods, “Look, your putting was off today.” I don’t think it has to feel like an attack. It’s supposed to be a conversation about what just happened, so fans can have a deeper appreciation of what’s happening in a deeper way.
Q: What is the buzz around next week’s PGA Championship coming off the Masters and it being moved up to May?
A: This could not be better timing. We were all really excited to have the PGA moved to its new spot, but just look at the shape of our game right now and how many players are at their best. Then you throw in Tiger Woods just winning the Masters, it’s impossible not to get excited about this.
Q: How do you get from Hofstra to CBS?
A: I went from Verizon to MSG Varsity and then I left New York to become the in-house reporter for the PGA Tour in Jacksonville. I was there for five years just waiting for a break, waiting for someone to call and say I was going from the digital space to TV and it just didn’t happen. Literally, I was ready to give up and Callaway called and asked me to join them as an in-house reporter. And I was like, “All right, that’s it. That was the universe calling. You tried to make it in broadcasting, but now it’s on to something else.” Then after being with Callaway, Turner called and they wanted me for their TV coverage and I immediately started crying and called my parents. That was my chance to impress CBS.
Q: Did you golf growing up?
A: It was very ironic because I grew up with a golf-obsessed family. It’s all my parents ever wanted me to do was play golf and I wasn’t interested. I played four-hole junior golf and when they told me I had to carry my own bags and move up to nine holes, I said I was done and then I fell in love with volleyball. So, I never thought it’d be what it is in my life today.
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