The golf course is definitely one of the few places where a little extra cleaning can get you into a lot of trouble. In this case, however, having to fish your ball out of the drink was penalty enough. According to Decision 23-1/6, a player is allowed to remove loose impediments from the area in which he is about to drop his ball (as long as that spot is through the green) without penalty. As long as you only removed leaves and other loose impediments, you did not violate any rules and were able to drop your ball without thinking twice. Tell your buddy that if he wants to play Rules official he’d better clean up his act.