After Europe produced a stunning fightback to reach the 14 points they required to retain the cup near Chicago, Woods knew heading to the 18th tee he could no longer affect the trophy's destiny.
But by holding on to his one-hole lead in the final match, the former world number one could at least have ensured the scoreline finished 14-14.
He had the opportunity to do that but after missing a putt to beat Francesco Molinari, he then conceded the hole to the Italian and handed Europe an outright 14.5-13.5 win.
Woods said: "It was already over. We came here as a team - this is a team event.
"And the cup was already been retained by Europe, so it was already over.
"You come here as a team and you win or lose as a team, and it's pointless to even finish.
"So 18 was just, hey, get this over with. Congratulations to the European team. They played fantastic and they deserve the cup."
That incident rounded off a dismal three days for Woods in which he failed to win a single match.
The 36-year-old 14-time major winner lost three times in partnership with Steve Stricker on Friday and Saturday and was even stood down for a match for the first time in his career.
Captain Davis Love faced further questions over his decision to rest Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, after the pair enjoyed three wins together, for the Saturday afternoon fourballs.
But over the course of the three days, Love felt he had done everything he could to secure victory - after all, his side had led 10-6 heading into the singles.
Love said: "I wouldn't have done anything different, they played great.
"They did everything we asked them to do, and I can honestly say that I've been a part of a lot of teams and I've never seen a team of golfers like this, and I'm proud of them.
"It was certainly a difficult loss. I think any Ryder Cup loss is difficult.
"There are some guys on this team that have lost before and it's never fun any way it happens. This was certainly not what we expected.
"They got beat by some holed putts, chip-ins, some incredible shots, and some matches got flipped at the end on long putts and great saves by the other team.
"I have to congratulate Europe on the way they played, they played great."