Patrick Reed says he should not be called a cheat after being penalised for improving the lie of his ball at the Hero World Challenge last Friday.
The 2018 Masters champion moved sand in a bunker with his practice swing, which carries a two-stroke penalty.
Reed, who will play for the US in this week’s Presidents Cup, was criticised by players from the International team.
However, he said: “I wasn’t trying to improve a lie. If you break the rules unintentionally, it’s not cheating.”
The 29-year-old is a wildcard selection in Tiger Woods’ team at the Ryder Cup-style Presidents Cup, which starts at Royal Melbourne in Australia on Thursday.
Team captain Woods called Reed “a great kid”, saying they had discussed the incident on the plane from the Bahamas to Australia.
“It was not a lengthy conversation,” he explained. “We kept it short and brief, to the point.
“The rules official gave him two shots. He finished at 16 under, two behind [winner] Henrik [Stenson], and now we’re on to this week.”
Reed has been criticised by members of Ernie Els’ International team including Australian Cameron Smith, who said he “doesn’t have any sympathy for anyone that cheats”.
“I think it’s only natural,” Els said. “These guys are competitors. Obviously they didn’t like what they saw.
“Like Tiger, we’re moving on; we’ve got a Cup to play for. It’s got nothing to do with us. It’s basically what’s happened, and I think Tiger’s dealing with it and Patrick’s dealing with that.
“We’re getting ready to play the Presidents Cup. There’s nothing more to be said.”