Woods, the tour's top-ranked golfer and the tournament's four-time defending champion, has not played this season while continuing his recovery from reconstructive left knee surgery.
He won his fourth straight Buick Invitational last year by a whopping eight strokes over Japan's Ryuji Imada, giving him his sixth Buick Invitational title overall.
Mediate withdrew on Monday for what he called "personal reasons."
The pair staged a stirring 19-hole playoff at the U.S. Open last June on the same Torrey Pines public golf course near San Diego.
With reigning PGA Tour player of the year Padraig Harrington, Imada, Davis Love III, and Phil Mickelson among the entrant's at this year's event, the field remained attractive.