Amanda Balionis interviews Rory McIlroy on May 12 after his Wells Fargo Championship win. Amanda Balionis interviews Rory McIlroy on May 12 after his Wells Fargo Championship win. (Golf on CBS on X/Twitter.)

There’s been a flurry of rumors in the golf world that PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy might be dating CBS Sports course reporter Amanda Balionis. That started with an on-camera interview Balionis conducted with McIlroy at Quail Hollow following his Wells Fargo Championship win on May 12.

Some claimed that interview was “flirty.” And that, and an Instagram like of Balionis’ post of the interview with a heart and a “You two” comment from Balionis’ friend Camille Stroud, then escalated to gossip sites’ blind items, Twitter/X discussion, and even a Daily Mail report (which had a CBS source pouring some cold water on the idea, but not completely shooting it down). Now, however, gossip magazine Us Weekly has their own anonymous source saying unequivocally this isn’t happening:

Here’s more from that piece, by Miranda Siwak:

Rory McIlroy and sports reporter Amanda Balionis are not dating and only have a professional relationship, Us Weekly can confirm.

After McIlroy, 35, filed for divorce from wife Erica Stoll, rumors swirled that he had moved on with Balionis, 38. Neither the pro golfer nor Balionis have publicly addressed the speculation. (The CBS Sports journalist married football coach Bryn Renner in 2022 but it is unclear if they have separated.)

In general, who an athlete like McIlroy is or isn’t dating isn’t really of importance from a media side. However, it is notable to see the suggestion of a Balionis-McIlroy relationship shot down (albeit secondhand), as viewers certainly might start analyzing her interviews with him through a potential conflict of interest lens if they were in a relationship. There is also the media dimension to this, including with the “CBS source” that spoke to The Daily Mail‘s Alison Boshoff and Daniel Bates earlier this week:

A source at CBS who knows Amanda well said: ‘Amanda has always wanted to be on television. It’s her dream. She’s very likeable but one of the most ambitious people I’ve met. I’ve known her for a long time. She won’t mind having her name linked to the story because of the profile it’s giving her. I know she’ll be loving it. I don’t mean that cruelly. She’s a nice girl, but she’s ambitious. This will give her a leg up.’

The source added: ‘Before all this, I wouldn’t have said they were any closer than she is with other players. She’s got a flirty nature, which works well on television. She has chats with the players. I guess she and Rory get on well, but I don’t know whether they’re in a relationship or not.’

Whether meant “cruelly” or not, those are certainly strange comments to make about a colleague, especially the suggestion that Balionis will be “loving” publicity from suggestions she’s dating an athlete she covers. And those remarks tie into a long history of people questioning female sideline reporters’ motives and overlooking the position’s value. And that anonymous CBS source certainly added fuel to that fire, especially considering that they don’t actually know Balionis’ thinking, and that they admitted they didn’t have any insight on if there was a relationship here.

It is somewhat odd that Balionis and McIlroy have not publicly disputed this rumor, especially considering how it quickly moved beyond just social media and gossip sites to newspapers like The Daily Mail and The New York Post. And those really intensified after that May 12 interview (seen at top) following his win at the Wells Fargo Championship, which the Mail called “flirty.” Here it is:

While the Mail‘s CBS source may think this is good for Balionis, there are plenty of ways it might not be (or for McIlroy, for that matter). But there is always a Streisand effect risk when combating rumors, as pushing back can certainly lead to more attention to the rumor. At any rate, an Us Weekly source has now offered definitive pushback on this, and unless anything further comes out, that may be the end of that particular rumor’s relevance to the golf scene.

[Us Weekly]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.