Virginia Water - English golfer Simon Dyson was handed a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour and fined 30 000 pounds ($49 000) on Thursday following his rules violation at the BMW Masters in Shanghai in October.
Dyson attended a hearing on Thursday where he was found guilty of a serious breach of the tour's code of behavior for using his ball to press down a spike mark on the green in direct line of a short par putt.
His ban will become effective only if he commits another rules breach in the next 18 months.
A three-man disciplinary panel, who convened at the European Tour's headquarters at Wentworth, found that Dyson's actions were deliberate and "committed by him in the knowledge of the rule forbidding such an act." However, the panel said it was "a momentary aberration on his part, not a premeditated act of cheating."
Dyson's previous good conduct on tour was also taken into an account.
A television viewer noticed the infraction, which occurred on the eighth green at Lake Malaraen during Dyson's second round, and rules officials met with Dyson the next morning.
He was tied for second, four shots off the lead. Dyson was disqualified for not adding the two-shot penalty to his scorecard.
Dyson, a six-time winner on the European Tour, said in a statement released five days after the incident that the violation was unintentional. The maximum sanction was expulsion from the tour.
Dyson returned to action at the start of the 2014 season in November, finishing tied for 52nd in the South African Open and then tied for third in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last week.