Costantino Rocca

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Costantino Rocca
— Golfer —
Constantino Rocca.JPG
Personal information
Full name Costantino Rocca
Born (1956-12-04) 4 December 1956 (age 57)
Bergamo, Italy
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Nationality  Italy
Residence Bergamo, Italy
Spouse Antonella (m. 1981)
Children Chiara (b. 1985), Francesco (b. 1991)
Career
Turned professional 1981
Current tour(s) European Seniors Tour
Former tour(s) European Tour
Professional wins 14
Number of wins by tour
European Tour 5
European Seniors Tour 2
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament T5: 1997
U.S. Open T67: 1996
The Open Championship 2nd: 1995
PGA Championship T17: 1995

Costantino Rocca (born 4 December 1956) is the most successful male golfer that Italy has produced. After a long career on the European Tour he 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.

Career outline[edit]

Rocca was born in Almenno San Bartolomeo, Bergamo. He started out as a caddy, winning the Italian Caddie Championship in 1978, and turned professional in 1981 at the age of 24.

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 1995, Rocca sank a 60 foot (18 metre) putt on the 18th at St Andrews to make the birdie he needed force a play-off with the American John Daly, but Daly took the title. As Rocca approached the final hole, he was one shot behind Daly. Rocca's long drive was only yards from the green, but his second shot resulted in a fluffed chip where he forgot to follow through. The ball trickled a mere five yards into the "Valley of Sin." From the Valley of Sin, well below the level of the green, Rocca putted and holed his birdie putt. The jovial Italian instantly fell to the ground and began pounding the ground with his fists out of joy.

Rocca's showing at the Open helped qualify him for the Ryder Cup in 1995. The Italian punched a five-iron into the cup for a hole-in-one at Oak Hill's 167-yard sixth hole. It was only the third hole-in-one in Ryder Cup history.

In 1997, Rocca played the final round of The Masters Tournament with 21-year-old Tiger Woods, nine strokes behind him. He finished 3-under-par, and watched Woods' legendary moment. Since the turn of the millennium, age has begun to catch up with Rocca and he has fallen out of the top hundred on the Order of Merit. He made his European Seniors Tour debut at the 2007 Sharp Italian Seniors Open,[1] 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.[2]

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. In 1999, Rocca almost qualified for the Cup again after he won the West of Ireland Golf Classic.

Personal life[edit]

Rocca is married and has two children, Francesco and Chiara.[3]

In 2008, Rocca opened his own golf academy, the Costantino Rocca Golf Academy, at Golf Club Gerre Losone in Switzerland.

He is friends with golfing great Gary Player and plays in his Gary Player Invitational charity event to help raise money for underprivileged children around the world.

Professional wins (14)[edit]

European Tour wins (5)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 4 Apr 1993 Open de Lyon −21 (67-71-66-63=267) 6 strokes Sweden Joakim Haeggman, Sweden Gabriel Hjertstedt,
England Barry Lane, Republic of Ireland Paul McGinley
2 27 Jun 1993 Peugeot Open de France −11 (66-66-71-70=273) Playoff Republic of Ireland Paul McGinley
3 27 May 1996 Volvo PGA Championship −14 (69-67-69-69=274) 2 strokes England Nick Faldo, Scotland Paul Lawrie
4 7 Sep 1997 Canon European Masters −13 (71-69-70-65=275) 1 stroke Scotland Scott Henderson, Sweden Robert Karlsson
5 15 Aug 1999 West of Ireland Golf Classic −12 (70-68-68-70=276) 2 strokes Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington

European Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1993 Peugeot Open de France Republic of Ireland Paul McGinley Won with bogey on first extra hole
2 1995 The Open Championship United States John Daly Lost four-hole playoff (Daly 4-3-4-4=15, Rocca 5-4-7-3=19)

Other (7)[edit]

  • 1984 National Omnium
  • 1985 Enichem Open
  • 1986 Pinetina Open
  • 1987 Index Open
  • 1988 Rolex Pro-Am (Switzerland)
  • 1989 National Omnium, Italian PGA Championship

All in Italy except where noted.

European Seniors Tour (2)[edit]

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP T41 DNP CUT T5 CUT DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP CUT DNP T67 DNP CUT DNP
The Open Championship T44 T55 CUT CUT 2 T63 CUT T8 T18
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP CUT T17 T52 T71 CUT DNP

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 2
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
The Open Championship 0 1 0 1 2 3 9 6
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 3
Totals 0 1 0 2 3 5 21 12
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 4 (1996 U.S. Open – 1997 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (three times)

Team appearances[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]