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Handling the conditions at the Open is a mental task as much as a physical one, says Mark O'Meara. (Redington/Getty Images)

O'Meara blog: Wednesday's wind reminded me of 1998

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In the latest edition of his daily blog, Mark O'Meara is finding Royal Birkdale much like it was when he won a decade ago, only tougher. He also explains what he loves about links golf, and how his game is shaping up heading to Thursday.

Editor's note: Mark O'Meara, who capped a career year in 1998 at Royal Birkdale when he added the Open Championship to his Masters title, is doing a daily blog for PGATOUR.COM this week. This is his third installment.

Today was almost like '98. It was blowing maybe 30 mph and the course played extremely difficult. This year it's probably even more so because they've had kind of a wet spring so the rough is deeper and thicker. They've narrowed the course since '98, too. So with the wind blowing like it is right now, you would definitely take even par and sit in the clubhouse.

The whole key to playing in wind like this is keeping the ball low to the ground. Striking the ball solidly is important, but really the trajectory is the key. It's so hard for people back home to understand that one minute you might be 210 yards and you're hitting a 9-iron or an 8-iron and the next minute you're at 97 yards and you're hitting a 6-iron.

That's what makes links golf so special -
the imagination and creativity you need. You have to understand that the elements are the No. 1 factor in scoring. In my opinion, that's what makes links golf so enjoyable. Even though it's very difficult and the conditions are brutal, it also makes you think a little bit more, which is good.

At the Open Championship in '98, I played late-early and shot 72 and 68. Friday afternoon they actually postponed play for about 35 or 40 minutes because the wind blew so hard. They really don't have the greens too fast at an Open just because of the conditions and the wind. The ball was actually oscillating and rolling off the green that Friday. Even on Saturday, the wind was very, very difficult with some rain mixed in. And this is the summer time here -
it must be really great in the winter.

The course is tougher this year than it was in '98 and if the wind blows like it is today, over par could even win this tournament. It can change so quickly around here. One minute it can be windy, one minute it can lie down, one minute it can start raining. When you're so close to the sea like this, there are a lot of things that can happen so I think you have to be prepared for anything.

Mentally, it's just as much of a battle as it is physically. You have to understand that it's going to be tough for everybody, not just for you. I actually kind of like it like this. I think you have to be very patient and understand that the scoring is going to be very difficult.

You have to try to eliminate the big numbers out there. You're not going to make a lot of birdies and par is going to be a wonderful score on a lot of holes. It comes down to staying in the game mentally. Chipping and putting are going to be key, too, but that's pretty much the case at any major championship.

I played better today. I usually don't get jet lagged but I felt kind of down yesterday. But I thought about some things yesterday when I was chipping in the backyard at the house where I'm staying. I got out there today and hit the ball a lot better today. It was just kind of my setup and the start of my backswing.

When I feel like I can start the ball to the right and maybe draw it and compress the ball, I hit better shots. When I don't know if it's going to be a pull-hook to the left or a block to the right, though, that's no good -
especially in conditions like these.

I did get some rest last night so hopefully I'll be ready to go tomorrow. We had a great dinner,
a Mexican fiesta,
last night. We had nachos with ground beef and jalapeno peppers, salad and steak and chicken fajitas. Anthony Kim came over with his caddie Eric and his girlfriend Lisa and they pretty much scarfed down everything we had left over. But it was fun. Now it's time for the tournament to begin.

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