The 23-year-old played only eight holes of his second round in Florida before deciding to call time on the tournament after hitting his ball into the water at the ninth hole.
He was seven-over par for his round at that stage and looking like dropping at least one more shot on the ninth in a tournament in which he was the defending champion.
The Northern Irishman originally said he was not in the right frame of mind to play golf before adding that he had toothache, and it is still open to question as to exactly why he quit the event.
And now, after having had some time to reflect on his actions, the world number one has confessed that he made the wrong call in opting to throw in the towel.
"It was a reactive decision," he told Sports Illustrated. "What I should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a five and play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85.
"What I did was not good for the tournament, not good for the kids and the fans who were out there watching me - it was not the right thing to do."
Much has been made of the world number one's decision to change clubs over the winter but he made it clear that his recent dip in form is nothing to do with his equipment.
"The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with all the equipment," he added.