Needing a birdie to tie John Daly and force a play-off, Rocca drew gasps of astonishment when he duffed his second shot - a relatively straightforward chip - into the Valley of Sin guarding the 18th green.
In front of a huge crowd at the home of golf, Rocca had experienced a truly devastating moment and must have wanted the ground to swallow him up.
Yet moments later, the Italian was able to begin one of the most emotional celebrations ever seen at The Open as he somehow holed his long, undulating birdie putt to keep his dreams of victory alive.
In unforgettable scenes, Rocca collapsed to his knees and rocked his arms back, before falling forward on to his front and thumping the turf with both hands in a moving display of ecstasy and relief.
Daly ultimately won the play-off to secure the Claret Jug, but Rocca's rollercoaster ride on the 18th would be the abiding memory from the Championship.