Woods's only option was to step away
But if you sat down and thought it through, thought about all that Tiger Woods's return to action would entail both publicly and privately, it was impossible to envisage him stepping back on to a tee in the foreseeable future.
This has been an astonishing fall from grace. From the height of his powers as one of the most dominant figures in all of sport to humiliation and contrition after a devastating fortnight of lurid claims and rumours about his private life.
And the world's top golfer has recognised that a return to the public eye cannot be considered at the moment. It has to be left on one side.
Broken windows, broken promises, broken hearts, broken marriage, broken man and a broken image; which does he fix first? It's a horrible mess and desperately sad.
Tiger Woods's previously squeaky-clean image has been tarnished
When Tiger Woods walks into a room you are instantly struck. It's not the immaculate turn-out, the athletic, confident walk and the flash of a brilliant smile that does it. It's the eyes.
They never waver, if he talks to you the eyes never wander (how ironic) they fix on you as if you are the only person in the room. There's nothing shifty. I first noticed it in 1997 in a packed press conference at the Congressional home of the US Open, his first major since winning his first Masters.
For my first question to the sport's newest icon - something about his caddie as I recall - I was standing at the back of a crowded press conference and his stare never left me from the moment the question was asked.
That way of going about his business has never changed in the dozen years since.
Now who can he look in the eye? This is his problem and it is why the rebuilding of his personal life is of such importance to his public side.
American commentators are calling this the first right move in a fortnight of public relations disasters. Perhaps it is the turning of a corner, but it is too early to say.
Events have been out of Woods' control. He has been forced from the "this situation is all my fault" of his first statement to the "those transgressions" confession to now the confirmation of "infidelity".
How humiliating for someone who until just over a fortnight ago was among the most visibly assured human beings on the planet. Now the sponsors who pay him millions seem to have stopped showing his image in association with their products on television.
He is the butt of internet jokes clogging inboxes across the globe, the subject of continued tabloid scrutiny. However much we might want the world to leave him and his family alone it won't happen until this thing has taken its full course.
As Woods tries to repair his marriage his strategists are seeking to mend his image. He has always operated with a close coterie of advisors and if any of those were party to his infidelity, it is almost impossible to envisage them remaining and his marriage surviving.
The two scenarios would seem mutually exclusive. But for Woods to lose some or all of that close-knit group would be a massive blow because they have been at the heart of his domination of the golfing world and commercial spin-offs.
For golf his downfall is also damaging. The PGA Tour was quick to express support for Woods' decision to take time out, but will be concerned at the prospect of trying to renew sponsor contracts next year with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of their biggest calling card.
The Open survived just fine when he missed Birkdale with his busted knee but how will his potential absence affect the 150th anniversary Championship at St Andrews, the venue where he's twice won the Claret Jug?
Yes the fans will still turn up, we may indeed get a more exciting Championship if he is not there given that his wins in 2000 and 2005 were utterly dominant. But it is right now that deals are being done on the credit-crunched corporate side and the Woods affair has done nothing for the price of packages.
The US Open at Pebble Beach will be similarly affected.
Iain Carter speaks to the BBC News Channel
All of which, I suspect, is of little concern to Woods and his family at the moment. The American columnist Rick Reilly brilliantly summed up the last fortnight when he said the golfer was the first person to hit a hydrant and set himself on fire.
Now Woods has to douse those flames and by taking an indefinite break from the sport he has dominated for more than a decade he may at last have the hoses pointing in the right direction.
No-one knows when he will return to golf, least of all the player himself. Let's hope he can solve his family problems to sufficient extent to enable him to compete again in the not too distant future.
When this story first broke, when the Cadillac hit the tree and the initial rumours of serious injury were discounted most observers thought it would be business as usual soon enough.
Now we're at a stage where he can never go back to what we regarded as business as usual. When he does return he will be a different personality who is likely to have different priorities.
Fans might forgive but no one can forget the events of the last two weeks and with that he will have to come to terms.
I prefer to remember him for the way he bestrode the fairways at Hoylake and beat the field into submission with his brilliant golf just weeks after the death of his father in 2006.
That was the super-human Woods bouncing back from the biggest tragedy of his life to that point. The comeback from this, when and if it happens, will require the ordinary human side of the man to come to the fore if it is to be at all successful.