Wedge game a challenge for Rory — Des Smyth

Rory McIlroy plays a pitch in front of his coach Michael Bannon but it's the three-quarter wedge shots that cause him trouble. Picture: Eoin Clarke

Rory McIlroy might be a streaky putter but for European Ryder Cup vice-captain Des Smyth, the two-time major winner's biggest weakness is his wedge game and McIlroy doesn't disagree.

The Holywood star struggles to perform at the same level as other top stars with the short irons in his hands, occasionally flipping one left due to his enormous hand speed.

It's an issue he know he has to address and it's been recognised by Smyth, who noticed how McIlroy laughed ironically when he tugged one particularly poor wedge into a trap en route to that amazing 63 in the Memorial Tournament earlier this month.

"If he has a weakness - okay, he can putt better - if he putts well he’s in a different class," Smyth said. "But in my opinion, as a result of this enormous power that he produces with his hand speed, his 70-110 yards would be the toughest shot in his bag. He finds it hard to slow it down.

"Have you ever watched Alváro Quirós try to hit a wedge from 90 yards? That’s the hardest shot in the bag for him because of this hand speed he has, this power.

You start to throw your hands and your wrists into it and then you can get flippy and you can start to be much more inconsistent.
— Rory McIlroy on his trouble with the wedge game

"He knows he has to hit a soft shot but his difficulty is slowing down his hands. Luke Donald's strength is his short irons. But if you are a powerful hitter with enormous hand speed, it’s almost guaranteed your hardest shot is going to be form 90 yards.

"So the difficulty is the three-quarter shots between the mid-wedge and the sand wedge or the mid wedge and the pitching wedge. You have got to drag it through."

Nobody is more aware of the problem than McIlroy and his coach Michael Bannon and having struggled with the shot in recent weeks, they are working hard to improve.

"At times I feel very comfortable with them and then at times I'll struggle a little bit with my distance control because of that. And Michael and myself have always gone back to controlling the wedge swing with the body and keeping the triangle and keeping that constant the whole way through the swing and controlling everything with the big muscles, because at the end of the day, they are the most consistent ones that you have. 

"You start to throw your hands and your wrists into it and then you can get flippy and you can start to be much more inconsistent. 

"So yeah, it's something to work on today at the range maybe and something to obviously try and get better at, not just this week but leading up to the Scottish and The Open Championship."