Jason Day said reclaiming the world number one ranking is just reward after working tirelessly to return to golf's summit at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Day will move back to the top of the official world golf rankings thanks to his 3 and 2 victory over Brooks Koepka on Saturday, which secured a semi-final showdown against defending champion Rory McIlroy.
The Australian, who enjoyed a brief stint as number one in 2015 following his victory at the BMW Championship, put himself back on track to dethrone Jordan Spieth after sealing a wire-to-wire win at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"It's not so much about the number-one rank that really gets me excited, it's more the journey and the process that it's taken," said Day.
"To get to the top of your sport takes a long time and for me it's just that delayed gratification that I'm really thankful for and very happy for because I have been busting my butt and doing the right things. To be able to get back to number one in the world is fantastic.
"The next step is to try and get into tomorrow's round and I know I've got a really tough one tomorrow early and I'm just looking forward to it."
Of his blockbuster clash with McIlroy on Sunday, Day - who won the match play event in 2014 - added: "I think we'll have a lot of fun. I just hope the weather is good for us and it can heat up as quickly as possible, my back is a little shot right now.
"I'm going to have a lot of fun regardless of what happens, but I expect a really tough match against Rory. It seems like he's playing some good golf right now and he has been number one in the world for a long period of time. He's a tough competitor."