Woods is a six-time winner at Bay Hill, including a span of four straight victories. He last won in 2009 with a dramatic birdie on the final hole, but did not defend his title last year while coping with the crisis in his personal life.
His commitment to play was not surprising, although until a year ago, Woods typically waited until the Friday before a tournament to announce he was playing.
Woods says he watched the tournament on TV last year when Ernie Els won.
Bay Hill will complete a full year for Woods from when he returned to golf last year at the Masters. It will be his 20th tournament since then.
He has not won since the Australian Masters in November 2009.