I don't think that Sage is leaving off the hook keeper to be "naff" (which I assume means cheap), in fact I believe it is a question of style. Most of the North American doublehanders do not use hook keepers. In fact the very first one - my beloved Sage 9140-3 (which I built myself) - had one, due to the fact that all my single handers had them. As it turns out - I wish I'd left it off. The problem is that just above the cork is where the balance point of most rods is, it is therefore the place you put your hand when you carry the rod. It is uncomfortable and annoying, if I used this rod more I'd remove it!
In being part of the designing and testing of the CND Specialist rods as well as being involved in introducing the CND line to North America, one of the first cosmetic suggestions we made to CND's master designer Nobuo was that he leave the hook keepers off (they were even cool little collapsible ones) as nobody in North America would use them.
Tight lines - tyler.
Still Living Large!