The Ross does not have a cork drag, I agree - but it does have a sealed no-maintenance drag. You can't get sand in it, although the excessive venting does raise concerns for debris entry in Ross Canyon reels... we'll see.
The cork drag is generally believed to be the ultimate in performance but it requires loosening between trips to prevent compression and periodic oiling and maintenance thru the season. I've gotten used to non-cork drags and like them - although the ol' cork drags are hard to beat for performance when cared for properly. Like everything, it's a tradeoff. I tend to lean toward the low-maintenance solutions.
One little nuance I noticed about Bauer reels - I like to keep my drag pretty tight, and the Bauer reel becomes harder to reel in when the drag is applied. Other than that I love them and would buy one if I had the cash for an MX, which has the drag adjustment on the side away from the crank - a necessary design element for steelhead, tunoids, rip stripers, blues and other fast running fish.
Beautiful reels, all of them! I wish I could try them all
Actually, I still love my ol' Lamson LP series reels!