Sterling keeps mind on golf

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:56 AM ET

BRAGG CREEK -- As one of the most destructive storms in American history pounds Scott Sterling's home state, the Nationwide Tour pro attempts to go about the business of playing golf here in Calgary.

On one of the rare occasions his wife and infant son haven't joined him on tour, the Baton Rouge, La., native can only watch and listen as relatives evacuate New Orleans and squeeze into his home.

"I've made a few phone calls this week that's for sure," said Sterling, who will tee off tomorrow in the first round of the $450,000 Alberta Classic at Redwood Meadows. "There's only about three tournaments a year that they don't come with me. This, unfortunately, happens to be one of them."

Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Louisiana. Sterling's wife Stephanie, with 11-month-old son William, is hosting family members without electricity.

"Her parents are from New Orleans, so they're all staying at our house in Baton Rouge right now," explained Sterling, as he walked the 11th fairway during a practice round yesterday. "It sounds like their house in New Orleans is under at least two to three feet of water. We've also got the in-laws and a few aunts and uncles staying at our house but it's without electricity.

"In a way, I'm glad I got out but that's only because I know my family's fine."

As far as concentrating on the task at hand, Sterling said he doesn't anticipate distraction because he knows the worst is over.

"No one got hurt, thankfully, but their houses are pretty much done," he said. "I'm thinking about it non-stop but I wouldn't say it's a distraction. If I play good or bad, I wouldn't say it was because my mind wasn't on golf but this week is definitely different."

Sterling knows his presence in Baton Rouge wouldn't make much of a difference and is content knowing his family is safe. He'll stay touch as they attempt to pick up the pieces down south but will remain in Calgary until Sunday, whether or not he makes the cut.

He will then hook up with his relatives in Salt Lake City, Utah, the site of next week's Nationwide Tour event.

While picking up the first-place prize this week is the goal, Sterling said coming here has giving him a chance to do something he always wanted to do -- see Pearl Jam, who play the Saddledome Sunday.


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