Ernie Els, who needed to finish solo third to earn a trip to the Masters, missed several short putts in the final round and shot 75 to finish in a tie for fourth with six other players.
It's the first victory for Woods since the 2009 BMW Championship in Chicago.
After a bogey at the second hole, Woods birdied four of his next six to reach 14-under par. He made mincemeat of the par-5's, finishing 12 under for the tournament.
He received a huge ovation after the final putt on the 18th green as his fans celebrated his 72d career PGA Tour title, one fewer than Jack Nicklaus and 10 behind all-time leader Sam Snead. Woods previously won four straight titles at Bay Hill from 2000-03 and also had back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009.
Palmer hospitalized. Arnold Palmer is being hospitalized overnight after doctors noticed a rise in his blood pressure.
Palmer wasn't on the 18th green at Bay Hill on Sunday when Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Alastair Johnston, vice chairman of IMG and Palmer's longtime business manager, said the 82-year-old is on new medication and was checking his blood pressure throughout the final round. About 15 minutes before the tournament ended, doctors noticed enough of an increase to take him to the hospital for closer evaluation.
Johnston said Palmer was to be hospitalized overnight as a precaution and doctors were not overly concerned.