The Latest: Koepka feeling a lot more important at Ryder Cup

The Latest on the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

Brooks Koepka’s status sure has changed since his Ryder Cup debut in 2016.

He’s now a three-time major champion, which gives him a lot more gravitas heading into this year’s event at Le Golf National.

Koepka said Thursday he feels like his opinion on issues such as playing partners and course strategy are “definitely more important” than two years ago. He also feels more comfortable opening up with what’s on his mind.

Since going 3-1-0 in his Ryder Cup debut, Koepka has won back-to-back U.S. Opens, as well as this year’s PGA Championship.

He figures to be one of the key players this weekend for the U.S. team, which hasn’t won in Europe since 1993.

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12:35 p.m.

Thorbjorn Olesen was the only European player without a date when the Ryder Cup teams met for dinner at the Palace of Versailles.

So he was able to play the field.

Olesen photobombed a group picture of his teammates’ wives and girlfriends, which was posted on the European team’s Twitter account.

The 28-year-old Dane says he just “had to jump in there and take that beautiful picture. So I was a pretty happy man for a few minutes.”

Olesen was the last player to qualify for the European team, giving him a chance to play for his mentor. Thomas Bjorn, the most famous golfer to come out of Denmark, is serving as captain for the home team at Le Golf National.

Olesen says he experienced “a different kind of pressure” trying to make his first Ryder Cup team. He calls it a “good learning experience” that shows he can handle a pressure-packed situation.

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11:45 a.m.

With the sun beating down on Le Golf National, European and American players are getting in their final practice before the start of the Ryder Cup.

Tiger Woods might be taking it easy, though.

Woods chose not to take a tee shot in front of thousands of spectators who were gathered around what is set to be an atmospheric first tee.

Instead, he let playing partners Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas take their shots and walked down the fairway with them.

The opening ceremony and the draw for Friday’s morning fourballs take place later Thursday.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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