There had been reports he would play the Tavistock Cup exhibition next week in Orlando, followed by the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he is the defending champion and a six-time winner.
"When I finally got into a position to think about competitive golf again, it became apparent to me that the Masters would be the earliest I could play," Woods said.
"Obviously, the ratings will be off the chart," Heath Slocum said. "It will be interesting to watch — not only the reaction from him, but from the fans, the media, the players. I would venture to say he might be nervous."
Woods twice has come into a major after a long layoff without playing, with mixed results — he missed the cut at Winged Foot for the 2006 U.S. Open after his father died, and he won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines while playing on a shattered left knee.