Bill Elliott, the golf correspondent at The Observer since 1996, has been “let go” by the paper.
Elliott’s freelance arrangement with the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper is understood to be sufficiently informal that there is no redundancy payments involved, and that the golf beat will in future be covered by staff at The Observer and Guardian group.
“It seems they can’t afford me any more,” Elliott told sportsjournalists.co.uk. “I’ve known it’s been coming for some time but finally they have admitted that this is the case.
“It was fun while it lasted and was always a pleasure to write for The Observer even if it could have ended in a better way. That’s the way of the modern world I suppose. Pity.”
Elliott, who was elected as the chairman of the Association of Golf Writers during the Ryder Cup last month, continues as editor at large of Golf Monthly magazine and has other outlets.
Observer sports editor Brian Oliver paid tribute to Elliott, saying, “He’ll be a very big loss.
“Bill knows all the top players and his work for us was brilliant. His Seve Ballesteros piece in OSM was wonderful, and it was Bill’s exclusive for us that Tiger Woods wanted paying for playing in the Ryder Cup.”
Elliott’s departure is the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves at the Observer, including the binning of the award-winning Observer Sport Monthly magazine and the departures of long-standing sports contributors including deputy sports editor and tennis writer Jon Henderson, racing writer Eddie Fremantle, F1 reporter Maurice Hamilton and football reporter Jason Tomas.