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Rising German star Martin Kaymer is playing his first Open Championship with a heavy heart. (Franklin/Getty Images)

Birkdale Notebook: Sunshine expected to be in short supply

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The weather is forecast to be typically British this week, Martin Kaymer is dealing with his mother's recent death, Padraig Harrington extols the virtues of junior golf, and more.

SOUTHPORT, England -- As is frequently the case when the oldest major is contested across the pond each summer, sunshine will be in short supply this week during the 137th Open Championship.

Tuesday morning will be greeted with light rain and drizzle and winds between 15-20 mph. While the sun may peek though the clouds by afternoon, and into Wednesday morning, the threat of light rain remains constant the rest of the week here on the western coast on England overlooking the Irish Sea.

Cloudy skies and temperatures expected to range between the mid-50s to mid-60s are forecast Thursday through Sunday. But the winds, which necessitated a delay in play when Mark O'eara won here in 1998, will die down a tad to the 15-20 mph range.

"So much depends here at Birkdale on the weather, as we know from past Open Championships," O'Meara said. "In '98 the weather was pretty severe, pretty windy, of course out of the southwest, and of course played quite demanding you might say, and the scoring reflected that.

"I think this week a lot depends on what the wind does and how severe it blows. If it doesn't blow that hard, even though the rough is a little bit deeper this year because it's been a little wetter of a spring, I imagine these players, as good as they are, will shoot some pretty low scores.

"If the wind blows, even par will be a good score come Sunday afternoon. The weather is really what the factor is at any Open Championship, especially here at Birkdale."

MOM ON HIS MIND: When Martin Kaymer became the first German winner of the BMW International Open last month, he dedicated the victory to his mother, who was gravely ill with cancer.

Kaymer's mother died two weeks later. He withdrew from last week's Barclays Scottish Open to be with his family, but the 23-year-old is back in action at Royal Birkdale.

"I definitely know there will be someone special looking down on me this week," Kaymer said.

The up-and-coming talent from Germany has two wins on the European Tour already this year and is in the running to make his Ryder Cup debut. If Nick Faldo's team were picked today, Kaymer would get the final position off the European Points List.

This week's Open Championship is the first for Kaymer.

"It's been a sad time for our family, but everyone has been wonderful," Kaymer said. "This is such a great tournament and I didn't want to miss it. I know my mother would not want me to miss it either."

HARRINGTON HELPS JUNIOR GOLF: Defending Open champion Padraig Harrington kicked off the 2008 Junior Open at Hesketh Golf Club Sunday evening with a speech praising the efforts of the competitors and ethos of the championship. Harrington then presented each of the competitors with their official players' badge.

While there was a keenly competitive junior golfing scene in Ireland during his time, Harrington said, there was no equivalent Junior Open on the same scale: this year's Junior Open has representatives from 68 countries.

"When I was a junior, things were just starting to move on," he said, going on to talk of the times that he played in India and Argentina in golf events supported by The R&A. But for Harrington, one of the key benefits of supporting junior golf is that it helps ensure juniors go on to enjoy a lifelong relationship with the game.

"You just need to look at these kids," he said. "They're having a great time. And they'll go on to play for 60 or so years of their lives. Just imagine the huge amount that they will all put back into the game during that time."

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY: Kenny Perry is getting plenty of attention this week for deciding ahead of time to skip the Open Championship and stick to his original plan of competing this week in Milwaukee.

Perry has said his only goal was to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but Jim Furyk made it clear he would never miss a major.

"To the best of my knowledge, you can't win if you never play," Furyk said.

But he said Perry should be able to decide for himself where he plays. And he noted that he probably will play in 25 tournaments this year, and he already has won twice.

Oops. Make that three times.

"Did he win yesterday?" Furyk said.

Yes, he was told, in a playoff at the John Deere Classic after Brad Adamonis and Jay Williamson hit into the water.

Furyk shook his head, only it had nothing to do with Perry's decision.

"That's the kind of playoff I need to get into right there," Furyk said. "In my playoffs, the other guy always hits it stiff."

Furyk is 2-7 in playoffs, including a seven-hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods.

Helen Ross of, PA Sport and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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