When I was a kid there weren’t any hook keepers on ‘poles’. The hook went into the cork. And, apparently for many it still does. If the barbed hook is backed out of the cork, it does little damaged. If it is pulled out in any other way it does pull out a chunk of the cork handle. Some would call this adding character to the rod.
Given the price of some fly rods and drift rods these days, I think the hook keeper or some other means of hooking the fly/hook to the rod (reel, guide’s footings) should be used. The cork handle on the rod above is 20+ years old and the hook holder was quite an innovative addition when I bought this rod from Harry Teel.