Hand-to-hand combat between Poulter and Scott?

Ian Poulter and Adam Scott at the Australian Masters
Getty Images
Ian Poulter and Adam Scott were speaking a unique kind of sign language at the Australian Masters on Saturday.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012 | 6:41 p.m.

I’m not exactly sure where in the guidelines of golf etiquette this falls, but Ian Poulter and Adam Scott appeared to be engaging in a bit of good-natured ribbing during Saturday’s third round of the Australian Masters. Instead of trash-talking, though, they exchanged the kind of hand gestures we used to make as kids.

Poulter made several big putts on the front nine, and a Getty Images photographer caught him making his "nane-nane-boo-boo" gesture to Scott after one of those putts. Scott drained a 15-footer for birdie on the 18th hole to pull back within a shot of Poulter and, as you can see in the right-hand photo, flashed his five-finger salute back at Poulter with a big grin on his face.

Poulter and Scott are the two biggest names in the field, and are running 1-2 after 54 holes in Melbourne – that we know. What remains unclear, though, is exactly what was going on between them.

My theory is this: During their pre-tournament press conferences, several prominent players were asked about their thoughts on the possible ban of long putters. Scott, one of the long putters’ biggest advocates, of course defended them. Poulter, who uses a regulation-length flat stick, said unequivocably that they should be banned.

So my guess is that, since both players flashed their signs after making big putts, the duel of the digits was their way of supporting their position on putters.