Tommy Fleetwood has called for Europe's Ryder Cup title defence to be postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying this would give all golfers a fair chance to qualify.

The biennial contest between Europe and the United States is scheduled to be played at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan from 25-27 September.

But a string of European Tour and U.S. PGA Tour events have been suspended due to the pandemic, while the Masters and PGA Championship are looking for new dates on the golfing calendar.

"It would be a shame and feel weird to have to wait for so long after the last Ryder Cup, but you just have to take whatever comes. And it would be fairer in qualification terms for it to be pushed back," Fleetwood told the London Times.

Paul Casey last week also called for the Ryder Cup to be postponed by 12 months, as happened in 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Fleetwood, who won four matches alongside Francesco Molinari as a tournament rookie in 2018, leads the European points standings and has virtually booked his place if the 2020 Ryder Cup goes ahead.

European qualification began in September 2019 and ends on September 13, but players could be left with fewer point-scoring opportunities as a result of uncertainty over events.

The visiting team will include the top four players on the European Tour list, the top five on the world points list and three of captain Padraig Harrington's picks.

On current standings, World No 1 Rory McIlroy would be an automatic qualifier but major winners Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry would not.

Fleetwood said his priority was to be ready, both physically and mentally, for when action resumes on the golf course.

"It's not great in terms of practice and playing time, but it will be good for rest and recovery. Hopefully this will never happen again but we have to deal with it," he said.

Harrington said last week that he expected the Ryder Cup to go ahead as planned but as yesterday's Olympic postponement showed, sporting authorities are now often having to change their plans at short notice.  

"September is a long way off so there's no change to the situation at all at this stage," the three-time major winner told Today FM on 18 March.