Costantino Rocca (born 4 December 1956) is an Italian golfer. He was long known as the most successful male golfer that Italy has produced, until the 2018 success of Francesco Molinari, who credited Rocca as an inspiration to him following his Open victory. After a long career on the European Tour, Constantino is now playing on the European Seniors Tour. He has five European Tour wins and is best known for his second-place finish in the 1995 Open Championship, and his hole in one in 1995 Ryder Cup.
|Full name||Costantino Rocca|
|Born||4 December 1956|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Spouse||Antonella (m. 1981)|
|Current tour(s)||European Seniors Tour|
|Former tour(s)||European Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|European Senior Tour||2|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||T5: 1997|
|PGA Championship||T17: 1995|
|U.S. Open||T67: 1996|
|The Open Championship||2nd: 1995|
In the 1980s, Rocca struggled to retain a European Tour card and made several trips to the Qualifying School. He began to make major strides in his career in 1990, which was the first season that he finished high enough on the Order of Merit to gain a tour card automatically. By 1993, he had risen to sixth in the Order of Merit, and his two best seasons were 1995 and 1996, when he finished fourth. He won five titles on the tour, the first of which was the 1993 Open de Lyon and the most prestigious of which was the 1996 Volvo PGA Championship.
In the final round of the 1995 Open Championship, Rocca sank a 60-foot (18-metre) putt on the 18th at St Andrews to make birdie and force a four-hole playoff with John Daly, but Daly won the playoff by four strokes. Rocca's second-highest finish in a major was a tie for fifth in the 1997 Masters Tournament; he was in the final pairing on Sunday, having begun the final round in second place, nine shots behind 21-year-old Tiger Woods, and he finished fifteen behind Woods.
Rocca was the first Italian to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup, and remained the only Italian to do so until 2010, when Francesco Molinari qualified for the Ryder Cup held in Celtic Manor and Edoardo Molinari was a captain's pick. He appeared in 1993, 1995 and 1997, and had a 6-5-0 win-loss-half record, including 1 win and 2 losses in singles matches. That one singles win came in a crucial match against Tiger Woods in the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama, which Rocca won 4 & 2 to help Europe claim the cup. The victory against Woods was one of Woods' first losses in singles play. His 53% winning record in the Cup is one of the best in European team history. During the 1995 Ryder Cup, Rocca made a hole-in-one on Oak Hill's sixth hole, only the third ace in Ryder Cup history. In 1999, Rocca almost qualified for the Ryder Cup again after he won the West of Ireland Golf Classic.
The 2001 European Tour season was the last in which Rocca finished inside the top hundred on the Order of Merit, though the remained exempt through 2006 due to his 1996 Volvo PGA Championship win. He made his European Seniors Tour debut at the 2007 Sharp Italian Seniors Open, and won his first senior tournament two weeks later at the Irish Seniors Open. He ended 2008 with a record seven top finishes and ranked ninth in the Order of Merit. His best placing was tied third in the Azores Senior Open.
Rocca played his last European Tour event in 2015 at the Italian Open, an event he played in 33 times but never won.
Rocca is married and has two children, Francesco and Chiara.
In 2008, Rocca opened his own golf academy, the Costantino Rocca Golf Academy, at Golf Club Gerre Losone in Switzerland.
Professional wins (17)Edit
European Tour wins (5)Edit
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||4 Apr 1993||Open de Lyon||−21 (67-71-66-63=267)||6 strokes|| Joakim Haeggman, Gabriel Hjertstedt,|
Barry Lane, Paul McGinley
|2||27 Jun 1993||Peugeot Open de France||−11 (66-66-71-70=273)||Playoff||Paul McGinley|
|3||27 May 1996||Volvo PGA Championship||−14 (69-67-69-69=274)||2 strokes||Nick Faldo, Paul Lawrie|
|4||7 Sep 1997||Canon European Masters||−13 (71-69-70-65=275)||1 stroke||Scott Henderson, Robert Karlsson|
|5||15 Aug 1999||West of Ireland Golf Classic||−12 (70-68-68-70=276)||2 strokes||Pádraig Harrington|
European Tour playoff record (1–1)
|1||1993||Peugeot Open de France||Paul McGinley||Won with bogey on first extra hole|
|2||1995||The Open Championship||John Daly||Lost four-hole aggregate playoff|
Daly 4-3-4-4=15, Rocca 5-4-7-3=19
Other wins (7)Edit
- 1984 Nazionale Open
- 1985 Enichem Open
- 1986 Pinetina Open
- 1987 Index Open
- 1988 Rolex Pro-Am (Switzerland)
- 1989 Nazionale Open, Italian PGA Championship
All in Italy except where noted.
European Seniors Tour wins (2)Edit
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||3 Jun 2007||AIB Irish Seniors Open||−5 (69-71-71=211)||2 strokes||Juan Quirós, Kevin Spurgeon|
|2||10 Nov 2007||The Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy - Seniors Tour Championship||−10 (70-70-66=206)||1 stroke||Nick Job|
Other senior wins (3)Edit
- 2008 Senior Italian PGA Championship
- 2010 Senior Italian PGA Championship
- 2011 Senior Italian PGA Championship
Results in major championshipsEdit
|The Open Championship||T44||T55||CUT||CUT||2||T64||CUT||T9||T18|
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
|The Open Championship||0||1||0||1||2||3||9||6|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 4 (1996 U.S. Open – 1997 Masters)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (three times)
- Hennessy Cognac Cup (representing Italy): 1984
- Alfred Dunhill Cup (representing Italy): 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1999
- Europcar Cup (representing Italy): 1988
- World Cup (representing Italy): 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999
- Ryder Cup (representing Europe): 1993, 1995 (winners), 1997 (winners)
- "Francesco Molinari pays tribute to his golfing idol Costantino Rocca as he says his Open victory is for the man known as the godfather of golf in Italy". Daily Mail. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- "Rocca debuts in the Sharp Italian Seniors Open". European Tour. 14 May 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
- "Costantino Rocca – Results – 2008". European Tour.
- Vonaesch, Franziska. "Costantino Rocca: "Golf Is Good Training for Life"". Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2009.